PBN Guest Speaker Next Wednesday Feb 11th

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Business Growth Expert

The Three Absolutes to Any Presentation

Scott Schilling is Business Growth Expert committed to providing Inspired Answers to Today’s Challenges through his speaking, training, consulting and coaching. Scott helps individuals and organizations systematically increase sales, improve profitability and develop their people.

Scott brings a unique combination of 30+ years of life experience in sales, marketing and training to corporations, business owners, and entrepreneurs. He has presented at nearly 2,000 events in the last 8 years sharing the stage with General Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani, former first lady Laura Bush and many more.

As an Internationally accomplished and entertaining presenter, Scott has spoken to hundreds of thousands of attendees across a range of industries. Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the board room, podium and print. Scott has written 10 books to date including the recently released “Without Customers…Ya Got Nothin’!”

Scott is a highly sought after business expert because of the results he produces. His training propelled one client’s business to grow from approximately $8 million annually to almost $80 million in just under 6 six years. Schilling earned his B.B.A in Marketing and Insurance from the University of Iowa.

Scott’s Life Purpose is: To Inspire and Empower others to serve humanity through living their life’s purpose in Spirit

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Resolutions vs. Goals

What are your goalsHow are you doing with keeping  your New Year resolutions? Or have you already forgotten your new year’s resolutions?  Don’t get me wrong, resolutions are great. But resolutions tend to be forgotten before Martin Luther King day (January 19th if you’re wondering). That’s why I’m a proponent of turning resolutions into written goals.

It has been said that failure to plan is actually planning to fail. Each year I sit down in late December and put together my goals. I use the “S.M.A.R.T” method, which stands for:

Specific – you have a clear picture of exactly what the outcome will be when you reach this goal.
Measureable – you know exactly how you define successful completion.
Attainable – the goal must be reachable but challenging. (I will make a million dollars this year is not attainable if you’ve never made over $50k in a year. It would be better to set a goal of $100K this year.)
Rewarding – achieving the goal must be personally rewarding to you.
Timing – the goal must have a reasonable time frame for completion.

When planning goals, you should also consider all areas of your life. Goals should be set for Family, Financial, Spiritual, Personal Development, Intellectual, and Health.  Too much focus on one area is how we have unbalanced lives leading to less satisfaction with the goals that are reached.

One of the most important aspects of goal setting is to write your goals down and refer to them often. By writing your goals down you are more:

  • organized. Set goals once a week, plan a day and time.
  • able to measure your progress.
  • competent to increase your effectiveness.
  • capable to save time.
  • likely to improve communication with your family or loved ones.
  • proficient at increasing your enthusiasm for your future.
  • focused.

By setting and writing out your goals you have a road map for a successful year. Sandy Luedke, group leader of Professional Business Networking.  Feel free to contact her or join PBN at The Forums, 3700 Forums Dr., Suite 111, Flower Mound, TX 75028 every Wednesday, 11:30 – 1:00 or call (214) 476-1423 or www.pbnetworking.com.

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Speaking of Speaking in Microsoft Office

Many have used Microsoft® Office Word, Excel, Outlook and recently OneNote to become more effective and efficient at performing day to day tasks. But few know that these Office products can actually talk back to you.

Yes, that’s right. Each of these applications have the ability to speak text and numbers.

In Excel it is called “Speak Cells”. In Word, Outlook and OneNote it is called “Speak Selected Text.”

Quick Access Tool Bar

Quick Access Tool Bar

Of course, you will never find this capability on any of the Ribbon Tabs. You will have to venture into the Quick Access Tool Bar customization.  There are several techniques to customize your Quick Access Tool bar to include speech. The method that is consistent across 2007, 2010 and 2013 versions and applications is as follows…

Options TabClick the File tab (2007 click the “Office” button), now select “Options.” This will open the application options list.  In 2007 click the “Customize” option. In 2010 – 2013 click the “Quick Access Toolbar” option.

You will see a drop down that says “Popular Commands”, click this drop down and select “Commands Not in Ribbon”.

Now in the list of commands on the left, scroll down until you get to the “Speak…” commands. Select the command on the left column and click “Add” to place the command in your Quick Access Tool bar.  You can now click “OK” two times.

Customizing the QAT

Customizing the QAT

Now you can select text / numbers, click the button in your Quick Access Tool bar and have it read the information back to you.  So, now you don’t have to read that boring email. Let Outlook/Word/Excel/OneNote read it for you.

And, Yes, Excel 2003 had speech. Look in the “Tools” drop down.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Microsoft Excel, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Sandy Luedke | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Five Questions

Five Questions!

Five Questions!

I have recently been re-reading Tom Peters 2003 book Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. Even though the book is over a decade old it contains what I consider to be excellent advice to small business owners. This is the first of several posts related to Tom’s work, so check back regularly.

The first point that caught my eye was Tom’s take on “branding.” Many people think that branding is getting a cool logo, letterhead, and making sure that every time something is produced the customer always see’s the same thing.

Mr. Peter’s disagrees, he feels branding is much bigger than that. He believes you must ask yourself five questions. Not just once, but on a regular basis to ensure your business is staying on track.

The questions are:

  • “Who are you?”
  • “Why are you here?”
  • “How are you unique?”
  • “How can you make a dramatic difference?”
  • “Who cares?”

Who are you? – How do you define your product/service? What do you do? Example: “I sell insurance.” Really, that’s weak. What are you really providing? Protection, Peace of mind… If you cannot define what you do, then do you really know what business you are in?

Why are you here? – This relates back to who you are. Mr. Peters defines this as “What do you want to tell the world in the future? What does your company have that will enrich the world?… What is my mission in life?

How are you unique? – This is the biggest point every business must be able to clearly, eloquently, and definitively be able to convey to potential clients or run the risk of being thought of as merely a commodity. If you cannot differentiate from your competition then the only thing you compete on is price. Your uniqueness sets you apart. What additional value does the customer receive when working with you verses working with your competition? Former Proctor and Gamble marketer, Doug Hall, in his book Jump Start Your Business Brain offers up three “laws” of “marketing physics” which neatly define uniqueness:

  1. Overt Benefit: What is the product’s “One Great Thing?” Not the 20 great things the One great thing. Too many benefits only confuse and distract.
  2. Real Reason to Believe: Does your company REALLY and CONSISTANTLY deliver that “One Great Thing?”
  3. Dramatic Difference: Is the “One Great Thing” truly unique. Studies show that nothing predicts future success better than having a that “something” that sets you apart from your competition.

Who Cares? – In the previous four points, it has been about the “what”. This final point is about the “SO WHAT?” Who cares? You better care. Without Passion, Emotion, Caring you really doesn’t have a dramatic difference. The transfer of your enthusiasm for your product is how you tie everything together.

If you can successfully answer these five questions you will have created a powerful brand that will be much more valuable than a fancy logo or web page.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Let It Go!

Let it go!

Let it go!

With the recent success of Walt Disney’s academy award winning song “Let it go”, here’s some great ways to actually let it go.

  • Letting go does not mean to stop caring. It means I can’t do it for someone else. Let it go.
  • Letting go does not mean cutting yourself off. It’s the realization that I can’t control another. Let it go.
  • Letting go does mean to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. Let it go.
  • Letting go means not trying to change or blame others. It’s to make the most of myself. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to care for, but to care about. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to fix, but to be supportive. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to be in the middle trying to arrange all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to deny, but to accept. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it. Let it go.
  • Letting go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. Let it go.
  • Letting go is to fear less and love more. Let it go.

— Author unknown

Posted in Blogging, Business, Interests, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Calculating Age

Today’s Excel tip is one of my favorites, primarily because it’s an undocumented function. Meaning you will not find it in the Help. This week’s function is “DATEDIF”.

DateDif DATEDIF returns the number of years, months or days between a start date and an end date. Let’s say you have a list of names with birthdays and you would like to know the age of each individual. You can create a DATEDIF function next to each birthday and easily find out the age in years. You would accomplish this with the following:


This function uses the birthday as the start date. Typically, you will use a cell reference like “C6”.  Then the end date, I use the function “TODAY()”. This function returns today’s date. The final parameter is the unit to return, in this case using the “Y” for the number of years.

The function’s parameters are:


Start_date          A date that represents the first, or starting, date of the period.

End_date            A date that represents the last, or ending, date of the period.

Unit                       The type of information you want returned.

Unit Types

Y             returns the number of years between start_date and end_date
M            returns the number of months
D             returns the number of days
YM         returns the number of months since the current year
YD          returns the number of days since the first of the current year
MD         returns the number of days since the first of the current month

 Remember to check back regularly for Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks.

Posted in Blogging, Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke | Leave a comment

Extracting Data from a Text String

MID-FindToday’s Excel tip shows you how to extract information from a text file. In today’s example we have a list of street names with numbers and we want to sort by street name. There are several ways to accomplish this but this tip will introduce two new functions.

The first function is the MID function.

The function syntax has the following arguments:

MID(text, start_num, num_chars)

Text refers to the location of the cell where the text string is.

  • Start_num is the position count you want to start extracting characters from the string.
  • Num_chars tells the function how many characters to extract.

If all the addresses had consistent numbers in front of the street name (for example 4) we could just use =MID(A3,6,10). You always want to add 1 to the last character.

1234 Street   — =MID(“1234 Street”, 6,10) would return “Street”

Since the addresses numbers are of different lengths we will also have to use the second function, the FIND function. The FIND function locates the first occurrence of a character or number and returns the relative position number. We will use it to find the FIRST SPACE between the number and the street name.

FIND(find_text, within_text, [start_num])

The FIND function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Find_text   Required. The text you want to find.
  • Within_text Required. The text containing the text you want to find.
  • Start_num   Optional. Specifies the character at which to start the search. The first character in within_text is character number 1. If you omit start_num, it is assumed to be 1.

The formula will look like this:

=MID(A4,FIND(” “,A4,1)+1,20)

Of course to use this formula you will need to insert a new column. To insert a new column right-click on the column letter and select “INSERT” from the list. Then enter the formula above (adjusting for location) and copy it to the bottom of your data.



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Excel’s Concatenate – Put strings together

Many times you have data in two separate columns that would really be better shown in a single column. Excel has a way to make this easy.  On the Formulas tab, click on the Text category.  On the list is the Concatenate command.

concatenate Function

concatenate Function

Select the Concatenate command and the Function Arguments box will open.




Select the cell you want to use for the first part of your concatenated string. In this example that is the first name.  Then we need to have a space between the first name and the last name. To create the space, simply click into the Text 2 field and press the space bar. This generates ” ” or the literal space.

Now click into Text 3 and select the last name cell. Notice each time you click into the last Text box a new one shows up. This will happen up to 255 times.  Now that you have the first name, space, and last name click the OK button and in your destination cell you will have the full name.

This technique works for text strings and numbers. So if you want to put City, State and Zip together, you can use the concatenate function to accomplish exactly that.

Check back for more shortcuts and tips to be more effective and efficient using Microsoft Office applications.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Interests, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke | Leave a comment

Microsoft Excel Function: PMT (Payment)

Microsoft Excel Functions

Microsoft Excel Functions

If you have never checked out all the Functions available in Microsoft Excel, it is well worth your time to check them out. A function is simply a formula you don’t have to create. Simply fill in the values and the function will return a result. Today’s function is the PMT function. PMT is short for “Payment”. If you’ve ever needed to calculate what the payments would be on a loan amount this is your function.

The PMT function has 5 variables (also known as “arguments”).

Required Arguments

PMT Variables

PMT Variables

Rate: The interest rate to be used. If you want to annualize the rate you would divide the rate by 12.
(Example: 6%/12)

NPER: Number of periods/payments.

PV: Present Value or Loan Amount.

Optional Arguments

FV: Future Value. Essentially, it is the final payment amount (a balloon payment is an example).

TYPE: Logical value of 1 or 0 where 1 means payment is calculated from the beginning of the period, 0 means payment is calculated from the end of the month. The default is 0.

Once you’ve entered the arguments, the PMT function will generate a payment amount.

Calculate a payment

Calculate a payment

Note: The resulting value will be returned as a negative. (I assume that’s because when you make a payment it comes out of your bank account.)

Be sure to come back for more Microsoft Office tips and tricks.

Posted in Business, Ideal Real Estate Group, Networking, Professional Business Networking, Real Estate, Sandy Luedke, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Establishing Yourself as an Expert in your Field: Exercise #2 – Exercise #4


In our previous post, we talked about the importance of reaching the milestone of 100 blog posts on your business website, and went over Exercise #1 – creating your 5 categories.

This helps to establish you both on-line and off-line, as someone who actually knows your field well enough to make a full-time business out of it. It also shows you are serious enough to make this your long-term career choice instead of a fly-by-night venture.

Now, Exercises #2 – #4 will help you ensure your effort in building your credibility will pay off.

Exercise #2 – Blog Titles

Your Blog Title is the most important part of your blog post. Enticing people to read your entire blog begins by pulling them in with your title. If your title can’t get someone to pause long enough to pay it any attention, your actual blog content will remain widely unread.

Tips for creating your blog titles:

  • blogYour title should contain a keyword pertaining to your category. In our previous post, Exercise #1 took you through the steps to figure the best keywords to use related to your area of expertise.
  • As you stand in the grocery store check-out line, look at the headlines listed on popular magazines. Format yours in a similar way, exchanging the key words to fit your business.
  • Your title has to be relevant to your blog post. You cannot use shocking irrelevant titles just to entice people to read your content. You will not keep your readers this way, and it is easier to keep readers, than it is to find new ones.
  • Think of a series – like 101 tips for… then have 11 tips in your first blog post, and you’ll also have 9 more blog posts with 10 tips each to round out the series.
  • Strike while the iron is hot – if there is a breaking story, or a popular celebrity in the news, capitalize on it. “If Hugh Jackman were looking for a home in this area, what would be on his ‘must-have’ list?”
  • Begin entering your title in a Google search, and Google will begin to ‘fill in’ what the most popular searches are regarding the topic of your entry.  This can help you create a title that is a well searched term.

 Exercise #3 – Keyword Tracking

Make a spreadsheet of your blog posts, the category you have chosen for each post and the keywords used. This will help you even out your subject and have even coverage of the topics you want to cover regarding your business.

Exercise #4 – Blog Strategy

The spreadsheet created in Exercise #3 can also be used to schedule out your blog posts far in advance, and help you form a strategy for what you want your blogging and social media to actually accomplish for you and what you want your end results to be.

  • Pick your platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). There are more platforms blogbeing created every day, and not everyone needs to be on every platform.  Find out where most of your potential customers congregate, and use that platform to communicate with them. Don’t use a platform just because it exists.
  • Pick your frequency. The importance is consistency – most people cannot blog every day – but pick what YOU can do. If it is twice a week, then set a day aside to do 8 blog posts, and preschedule them, and you’re done for the month.

For more tips on how to optimize your blog, or to hire someone to handle that for you, be sure to visit social media expert Renee Groskreutz at FunCityMedia on Facebook!



We are proud to have Andy Lockhart be the first PBN member to have a spotlight on this PBN blog! Why? Because he utilizes his skill and expertise to help our group maintain a strong social media presence which enables us to continue growing our connections all throughout DFW!  Networking is about connections and relationships, and our online presence is just an extension of what happens within the group – businesses grow – and Andy is big part of that growth!

What makes Andy such a great connector is that his heart is focused on people. He finds some of his greatest moments of fulfillment in life when he is able to help others succeed by educating them on the importance of 1) making the right connections, 2) building a community of like-minded people, and 3) personal enrichment through active self-development.

His favorite quote is by Jim Rohn. “Invest more in yourself than you do in your job.” Andy then adds, “because if you don’t, no one else will!”

Andy also finds great personal fulfillment through his family life.  He and his wife Lesley began an inter-continental relationship while Andy was still working in England and making monthly visits to the United States.  Once Andy transferred here, they were married and life was bliss.  As if marriage isn’t exciting enough, seven years ago he and his wife agreed to host two Russian boys in a “10-day holiday exchange program.” Shortly thereafter, they ended up adopting Sam, now 17 and Will, who is now 19. There have certainly been challenges, language barriers, and adjustments to make in making these intercontinental transfers, but the family is now complete and proud to call Texas their home! 

If you only know Andy as someone who can help you look ten-years younger with his product Nerium, you only know a small part of how he can help you not only look better, but also help you live better and connect better with other like-minded folks. If you haven’t already had a one-on-one with Andy, it’s about time you did – contact him today!

Stay tuned to this website and blog for more updates, stay informed through our FB page, and connect with PBN on and off line through MeetUp.com!

Written By: Jennifer Jodziewicz   –   JJ Hummingbird Co. – where words take flight



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